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City Light – Maynard Waters


9 August – 9 September 2014

Meet the Artist Saturday 9 August from 2pm

An exhibition expressing a visual storyteller’s passion for the omnipresent and vital light that brings the city of his upbringing to life.


City Light

Maynard Waters is an exceptional artist capturing the essence of an Australia that he chooses to view with an intentional selective blindness. In doing so he presents a nostalgic and romantic viewpoint of the country and city through the workingman’s eyes.

His characters are dressed in the dark blue singlet of the chesty-bond-man whose chest has slipped more than a few inches. His women wear simple one-piece dresses often adorned with the ubiquitous apron. The kids wear shorts and T-shirts and are always barefooted. And then there’s the omnipresent dog, man’s best friend.

There are the pubs, the semi-detached homes, the bull noses and skillions of rusted corrugated iron, public monuments, rural scenes, dreams and hardship all wrapped in the trappings of an incorrigible storyteller.

What Maynard achieves with ease is what all artists strive for – originality. His genuine, if incomplete, views of the city and country are devoid of mass modernity – there are no office blocks or apartment buildings – but there are modern items such as new awnings in brilliant basic colours and modern cars, and Harley Davidson motorbikes.

Much of the work in this exhibition is about Sydney, the place where he grew up, was educated and in which he became an artist, although he prefers to call himself more as a “maker” of pictorial stories.

His Sydney scenes are often dominated by the city’s famous steps and other iconic features like the Harbour and its magnificent bridge, the Opera House, suburban laneways and human activity - all peopled by characters of all ages. 

Maynard’s paintings have simple sketched beginnings that evolve into colourful, complex and technically effective blends of fantasy and reality, all wrapped in his unique and original takes on the lucky country.

His stylistic views of what at first seem to be nostalgic reminders of a unique Australian social-scape are ultimately not locked into the period set by the buildings in the images. These scenes are at the same time of the contemporary landscape – just take a stroll down the streets and laneways of places like Balmain, Glebe, Blues Point, Observatory Hill, Lavender Bay, Paddington or Petersham, engage your selective blindness and you will find yourself in a Maynard Waters canvas.

About the Artist

Maynard Waters was born in Sydney in 1936. His father was a carpenter who travelled and worked throughout Australia and Maynard followed as a construction worker. During his travels he met many different characters amongst his workmates and the people of the many towns he visited. His mind stored up pictures of the various facets of Australian life, which later appeared in his paintings of country towns and vignettes of city life. 

He had always had the desire to paint. His first attempts were tentative representations of the Australian life he knew so well. Soon, as he offered paintings to galleries and they sold, his career as a painter was born, and in due time became an established painter and muralist. 

After training at East Sydney Technical College and an overseas study tour he garnered greater technical ability and maturity. 

For a period Maynard taught at the Canberra National Art School. He soon decided that he could not paint and teach and do both well, so he dropped teaching and made painting his work. 

His first solo exhibition was at the Nundah Gallery, Canberra in 1962 and has since exhibited around Australia and in London and Los Angeles. His work has also featured in several books and is represented in many private and institutional collections. 

Maynard lives with his wife Merle on the South Coast of NSW near Batemans Bay, where he continues to paint every day in his studio.